JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Heater Channel Installation:

Video Overview:

We’ve got the old heater channel removed and we’ve completed some rust repairs completed on our 1971 Super Beetle done in preparation for a new heater channel. Follow along with our tech as he covers test fitting the channel to the body and chassis. Then with the fitment confirmed he’ll get the channel welded in place and sealed up so it’s ready for another few decades of use.

Vehicle prep: 1:00
Heater channel test fitment: 1:15
Heater channel modification: 1:40
Heater channel to body test fitment: 2:13
Heater channel to body welding: 3:25

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

Pocket Knife
Angle Grinder
Wire Wheel
Cut Off Disc
Flap Wheel Sanding Disc
Impact Driver
3/8" Drive Ratchet
3/8" Impact Bit
3/8" Drive 13mm Socket
3/8" Drive 17mm Socket
Measuring Tape
Vice Grips
Electrical Tape
Ratchet Straps
MIG Welder
Caulking Gun
Self-Leveling Seam Sealant

Video Transcript:

Hi! Sam here with JBugs.com
We're in the middle of replacing the heater channel on our 1971 Super Beetle restoration 
at a friend of mines shop, so we can show you all the process. Our last few videos dealt with cutting out the old heater channel, and the other areas affected by the rust. With those sections repaired and replaced, we can get to installing the new heater channel.
Before we start, we'll make sure to say, wear appropriate protective gear. 
Work in a safe and well-ventilated environment, and only perform work that is well within your capabilities. Cutting, grinding, and welding can all be dangerous so make sure to make all the necessary precautions.
We start by lifting the new heater channel into the body starting at the rear and into the front. 
We note a few places where we will have to make adjustments. One is the front end of the carpet gripper strip at the front of the door jamb. Another is the back edge of the door jamb. We note that the front holes, at the bottom of the firewall, don't quite line up.
So, we drop the heater channel down, and we cut the gripper strip back just a bit 
and we open up the holes in the heater channel with a uni-bit. We check the fit again and see that the edge of the rear door jamb still doesn't line up. So, we drop the channel and grind back the edge of the door jamb. 
We check the fit of the body again and when we are happy with the way it lines up with the body, 
we move the heater channel to the chassis and make sure that all the bolt holes line up to the pan.
With the fitment confirmed there, we move the chassis under the body 
and with the heater channel set in place and held securely to the body, the body and heater channel are dropped down to the pan. We install a few bolts into the heater channel through the pan. We thread a few body bolts into the chassis as well, to make sure all the bolts line up.
Next, we measure the door opening at the bottom side of the passenger door 
and compare them to the driver's side. 
The opening is a touch longer than we'd like so we loosen the bolts at our body brace 
and use a ratchet strap to pull the door jamb together so the measurement matches the passenger side. 
We measure the top to bottom of the passenger side 
and use another ratchet strap to pull the body down on the left so the measurements match. 
We tighten the body brace, 
check our measurements one more time, then we use a hammer to gently tap the bent sheet metal, at the bottom of the door jamb, into place.
Then we weld the front door jamb to the heater channel. 
We remove the body brace 
and use one more ratchet strap to pull the rear door jamb into the heater channel. 
Then we weld the rear of the door jamb, 
the inner quarter panel, and the rear cross member to the heater channel. 
We use a wire wheel to remove the paint off the heater channel below the quarter panel 
and weld a few seems across the bottom, every inch or so.
Inside the car, at the front firewall, the heater channel fit is massaged into place with a hammer and a punch 
and welded into place. 
We move to the front left quarter panel and weld along the lower body seam 
and fill in the few spot welds we drilled out earlier. Finally, we move to the rear fender well and weld in the heater channel to the rear cross member there. We use a flap disc to smooth out the welds and clean up the splatter and sheet metal.
Then we go back over all the seems with a self-leveling body seam sealer, to give a weather-tight seal. 
We can get to work on repairing some other areas of rust on our Beetle's body. 
Coming soon, we'll cover repairing our right rear quarter panel, 
welding up the body molding holes, and repairing our rear luggage shelf.
In the meantime, thanks for watching!
Make sure to click the like button below, hit subscribe if you haven't already, 
and when you need parts for your vintage VW, head over to JBugs.com